Epler Wood managed the design, proposal process, and start-up for the Tour Operators Plan for Sustainable Tourism for the Planeterra Foundation, supported by the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the Inter-American Development Bank and G Adventures — a project that brought small community suppliers in 4 Latin America countries into international tourism supply chains. It was the largest, most ambitious project ever developed under the Planeterra Foundation banner.
The project connects small community-based projects into the G Adventures supply chain. Investments worth $500K was provided by G Adventures to help build more comfortable home-stays near Lake Atitlan, Guatemala and on the shores of Lake Nicaragua in Ometepe, Nicaragua. A coffee tour on a fair trade coffee cooperative in Saripiqui, Costa Rica was upgraded for commercial visitation. In the Machu Picchu region of Peru, a unique community farm-to-table restaurant was developed, as well as a community-owned campground.
$500K in training and management services were provided by the MIF. All systems for the project were designed by Epler Wood. Product development procedures involved the community in careful deliberations regarding the preservation of their culture. Small grants were provided to build local small microenterprises for people living in the same communities. Environmental management and community heritage goals were primary goals to help mitigate project impacts. Green governance was explored via funding for local fellowships to government officials, and training and support for local NGO counterparts ensured that locally knowledgeable experts would carry the project forward for the long-term.